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More than just a copy editor

If you find any typos, grammar errors or awkward sentences in today’s column, it’s all Lynn Guild’s fault.

You see, Lynn, the Curry Coastal Pilot’s copy editor for nearly eight years, has left her post. Her last day was Tuesday, a sad day indeed.

Many of you may not know Lynn. Her byline rarely appeared in the Pilot. It should have, considering the long hours and tremendous work she did to ensure the quality of this newspaper. As every good author has an even better editor, so did the Pilot staff writers, including yours truly.

With her deep knowledge of word usage, syntax, and Associated Press style, Lynn saved every Pilot reporter from public embarrassment –  and possible libel – on numerous occasions. We all were accustomed to receiving our stories back with red marks, and plenty of them.

Even though she rarely wrote stories herself, Lynn was as much a journalist as the next staff member, and often better. She was more than a proofreader; she was a copy editor. Working fast and furious under deadlines each week, she would review stories and asked key questions that reporters forgot to answer, or even think about asking. Wielding her red ball point pen, she attacked copy, circling unsubstantiated claims, questioning facts and figures, and weighing whether the story was fair and balanced.

Personally, I was glad to have Lynn working at the end of the reporting process. She was our safety net, our unsung heroine. I’m certain her professionalism, optimism and her razor-sharp wit kept the staff from going insane from stress on many a deadline night.

Her work and dedication was not limited to the newsroom. She was an excellent representative of the Pilot out in our community, present at most local events. You may have spotted her washing and cutting watermelon at the recent Slam’n Salmon Ocean Derby. 

Within months of moving to Brookings, Lynn became involved in the Brookings’ Second Saturday Art Walk. Thanks to her efforts, the city officially named the alley behind the Pilot office, between Oak and Willow streets, Art Walk Alley. She also convinced the Pilot’s publisher to turn our downstairs conference room into a photography gallery for each Art Walk.

Lynn was a long-standing supporter and participant in The Limericists, a group of residents who often dressed up while reciting their humorous limericks during the Art Walks. She is affectional known as the “Limericist Queen,” and will be holding court during today’s Art Walk.

Lynn wasn’t without her faults. She often became grumpy as the days grew shorter (it didn’t help when I pointed out that sunset times were occurring earlier each day). She cried bloody murder when her red pens went missing (I didn’t do it, I swear!). And her whining factor increased after 8 p.m. on deadline nights: “Okay people! I’m fading fast here!” she often yelled.

Still, it is with much sadness that I bid farewell to this  wonderful, kind, smart and funny woman. Her absence has left a huge hole in the Pilot newsroom that will be hard to fill. Worst of all, who will help me figure out whether or weather to use “its” or “it’s”?

Thank you, Lynn, for everything.

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